[Inscribed photograph of Mary McLeod Bethune standing before the U. S. capitol].
[Inscribed photograph of Mary McLeod Bethune standing before the U. S. capitol].
[Inscribed photograph of Mary McLeod Bethune standing before the U. S. capitol].

[Inscribed photograph of Mary McLeod Bethune standing before the U. S. capitol].

Washington, D. C., 1954. Photo, 9.25” x 7.25”, plus margins. Inscribed at upper-left corner, “To Richard, with love. Mary McLeod Bethune ‘54.”.

An inscribed photo of Mary McLeod Bethune shown standing outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington D. C.

Celebrated African-American educator, stateswoman, philanthropist and civil rights activist Mary McLeod Bethune (1875–1955) was fondly known during her day as “The First Lady of The Struggle.” This image was taken of Bethune just one year prior to her death in 1955 of a heart attack. 1954 saw the U.S. Supreme Court rule in Brown v. Board of Education that segregation of public schools was unconstitutional. Bethune defended the decision by writing that year in the Chicago Defender as follows: “There can be no divided democracy, no class government, no half-free county, under the constitution. Therefore, there can be no discrimination, no segregation, no separation of some citizens from the rights which belong to all. ... We are on our way. But these are frontiers which we must conquer. ... We must gain full equality in education ... in the franchise ... in economic opportunity, and full equality in the abundance of life” (Bethune, "Today in labor history”).

Born to former slaves in South Carolina, Bethune moved to Florida in 1904 after teaching elsewhere in the South, where she encountered a large black population which had sprung up during the construction of the Florida East Coast Railway. In Daytona Beach, Florida she founded in 1904 the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute for Negro Girls. Beginning with little capital, she built the school with donations and assistance from both black and white communities. In 1923 the school merged with the Cookman Institute for Men to become the Bethune Cookman College. Bethune served as the college’s president until 1942, and again from 1946 to 1947. Under her guidance, the college became fully accredited and reached an enrollment of more than 1,000. Bethune came to national prominence for her commitment to education and improved racial relations. In 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed her administrative assistant for Negro affairs of the National Youth Administration—a post she held until 1944. She would also serve as an adviser on minority affairs to Roosevelt.

REFERENCES: Bethune, Mary McLeod. "Today in labor history: Mary McLeod Bethune born." People's World (Long View Publishing Co.) at peoplesworld.org

CONDITION: Good, strong tonality, some light creasing.

Item #5989

Price: $675.00

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